Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Finish What Ya Started

I try not to watch much television but when I do it's either very good or extremely popcorn. "24" is the latter, held together by the stoic, smoky velvet voice of Keifer Sutherland as Counterterrorism Special Agent Jack Bauer. This evening's season finale didn't disappoint as we were witness to severed limbs, a Presidential resignation, murder, and the breakdown most diehard fans have been waiting for for nearly three years. The plotlines get cheesier every year and with the Sutherland the only regular apparently coming back it'll be interesting to see how Fox relaunches the series next year.

I spent much of the afternoon cooking some rainbow trout and listening to Van Halen. Although I had to do something with the trout I don't know why I put in Van Halen as the soundtrack to my kitchen session. And it was a little of both Van Halen eras, too. "Women and Children First" from the Diamond Dave era and "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" from Van Hagar.

Sammy Hagar joining Van Halen was a major point of contention among my friends in the neighborhood growing up. Danny Arrecis wouldn't talk to me for weeks when I showed up in his basement for our guitar jam sessions with a copy of "5150." Years later I walked into the Abbey Pub (back when it was only an Irish Bar) wearing a Van Hagar t-shirt and left two hours later ducking punches from construction workers after drunkenly arguing the merits of Roth versus Hagar. 'Course those of us who gave a shit about such matters then now know that the two incarnations of the band were completely different. The Roth-era Van Halen was lightning in a bottle: you only get it once. Van Hagar had more staying power and tried to change with the changing musical tastes of the public at large, but could still kick your ass when needed.

I guess I was thinking of it since Van Hagar is touring this summer- including two sold-out shows at the United Center. Most people consider a VH reunion to only be with Roth, but his abysmal performances when he and Hagar toured together last year proved that there's only one way to age gracefully.

Still, there's something to be said about nostalgia. I remember on a visit to Nashville two years ago my friends and I watched as an old man in western wear interrupted a concert at Robert's Western World to stand on his head and drink a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Later in the evening this guy who looked like Foster Brooks came up to us and shared some marijuana he had packed in a corncob pipe. We smoked, watched the old guy come back and drink his beer, and all was right with the world. Every time I go back down there they want to recapture that night when I want to give them new things to talk about.

That's probably why I'm not gonna see Van Halen this summer.

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